Old Marshalls, preamp tubes, tube guru opinions needed!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by teveinsene, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. teveinsene

    teveinsene Member

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    I have in the past couple months added some new amps to my collection and am looking for some good suggestions for preamp tubes.
    1979 JMP 2204 and a Rockitt Retro 50 watt super lead.

    Up to this point I have relied on mostly Chinese 12ax7's and some EH, Sovtek, and JJ 12ax7's and that is what I have loaded in both these amps and they do sound quite good but I am looking to spend a little more money for some older anos stuff as it seems the marshall aficionados prefer other some better older tubes to bring out the best.
    Not looking for powertubes for now as I still have several old pairs and quads of good winged C's which seem great in both these amps as well as the JJ EL34L's they came loaded with.

    So what are some good options?
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  2. Fretsalot

    Fretsalot Member

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    I'm no tube guru, just an enthusiast with some recent experiences. I have had a Rockitt (1987) for two years, and older glass in it for the past 9-12 months. I've currently got it loaded with:

    V1: late 50's ANOS GE 12ax7, long plate I think.
    V2: early 60's ANOS GE 12ax7, short plate
    V3: Tesla/JJ ECC803S (it's a long plate)

    Here is a clip of them in (humble) action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5TH2RsPY6Q

    Noteable mention:
    V1: early 60's mullard ECC83 shortplate - the GE just beat this out by a smidge. It was about equally good, just a little... different.
    V3: a friend lent me an early 60's NOS Telefunken which was better than my ECC803S. I also had a Sovtek 12ax7 LPS in this spot, but the ECC803S was a bit better than that. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a Telefunken, but am in no rush at the present time.

    My same friend has lent me some ANOS/NOS 60's era RCA's, Baldwin's, GE's and a Raytheon. Of everything I've had in my amp, the only tube of his that I liked better than my current favs, was the Telefunken in V3.

    Fretsalot/Scott
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  3. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Other popular 12AX7 types for Marshall are RFT ECC83 and Amperex (or Philips Miniwatt, from Holland) short-plate ECC83. But before diving in to the murky waters of vintage glass, you should try to become very clear about your sonic goals. What are you trying to do with any changes you'd call improvements?

    - Thom
     
  4. teveinsene

    teveinsene Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions, I really appreciate it! Yes the Rockitt is the 1987 I guess not technically a Super Lead as that would be the 100 watt I guess, so a 50 watt Lead lol. Awesome amp love it. Master volume is pretty good and usable but thru the Alex or Aracom even better!
     
  5. freaksho

    freaksho Member

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    definitely try some NOS to satisfy your curiosity and maybe find a life-long mate. but also try some new production Tung Sol too. i was convinced by Doug to try them a while back when i got my 1980 2204 and loved it. now i just always put one in V1 for all my rock amps and never even consider anything else. (the amps were Marshalls, Bogners, and Carol-Ann)
     
  6. teveinsene

    teveinsene Member

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    Thom[/QUOTE] What are you trying to do with any changes you'd call improvements?

    Well when you are completely new to actual Marshalls (up to now I have been playing marshall variants) and don't have experience with there tone other than clips and vids that is kind of hard to know I suppose? I like them the way they are for the most part and wonder if they could sound better but the only thing I would change I'm not gonna change with a preamp tube anyway...the low strings on the jmp 2204 are tubby and loose under gain, moreso than I would like but it sounds so good I'm dealing with it for now. Not the case with the Rockitt.
     
  7. Fretsalot

    Fretsalot Member

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    Teveinsene,

    I have my Rockitt and an '82 Marshall 4010 (2204 in 1x12 combo form). Even with the BASS dialed down to 0 on the 4010, it was still a little flubby. I had an old MXR 10band EQ that I now have as the only pedal (besides a tuner) in front of that amp. It is set with a really mild frown curve (mids a smidge above 0, highs and lows tapering off to a smidge below zero). Really tightened it up. I forget what tubes it's loaded with. One is an ECC803S in... V1? V3? The others are new production, also. I play the 4010 with it's 1x12 speaker, then sometimes plug it into my Mesa vertical 2x12 loaded w/ Scumbacks BM75's (65w) for more/better thump.

    Fretsalot/Scott
     
  8. jcs

    jcs Member

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    Real Mullard or Amperex Bugle Boy in v1 of my 71 Marshall Smallbox 50.

    I often go 12at7 in v3 though......or one of the cleaner more linear 12ax7 types like the German 12ax7 longplates or I just go thru various v3 12at7 & 12ax7 tubes until I get the right one.

    I don't care for hot and brighter 12ax7 in v3....otoh, others may really like this. particularly for live work.

    It's kind of similar to the way Celestion V30's don't sound great until you get them on a stage.

    MUCH depends on what guitars and/or OD pedals too.

    This IS the great thing about these circuits....the way you can fine tune them with preamp tubes.

    One final thing on preamp tubes.....some 12ax7 types "clean up" better than others with the guitar volume....for some this is no big deal if you never use the guitar volume at say 5 to 8.

    Be aware that the best EL34, imo, are still real Mullard EL34, in terms of long life and the way they never mush out under heavy gain from od pedals.
     
  9. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    I like RFT ecc83's in my Marshalls (a 1987 & 2204) in VA

    Tunisia tubes are nice as well. Very articulate with nice harmonics.

    I also have some JAN Phillips 12 AX7A's that make for a great PI (V3)

    I would like to try Bugle Boy
     
  10. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    I've never heard of "Tunisia tubes." Is that maybe supposed to be Tungsram?

    - T
     
  11. gldtp99

    gldtp99 Member

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  12. teveinsene

    teveinsene Member

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    That is good to know, I will try that with a boss 7 band eq pedal up front I've got laying around here somewhere. I've got some of those newer JJ ECC803 tubes. I'm running the 2204 with volume about 3 oclock and gain noon and cranked like this thru a good attenuator and getting wayyy more gain than you could get at lower volume levels. Sounds great and more gainy than I assumed a 2204 could get stock, cranking it is the key though.
     
  13. teveinsene

    teveinsene Member

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    I've been following the old marshall threads around here for quite awhile now and those RFT's are brought up often, have read some say they are a dark tube and can help warm up an overly bright or harsh amp. Will have to purchase a few of those as well. What about the Brimar? 12ax7's people speak of?
     
  14. Echoplexi

    Echoplexi Silver Supporting Member

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    Rft/siemens or tesla are good affordable nos el34s. Mullards are the classics. Right now I'm running GE 6ca7s in my 72'. Huge full spectrum tone.

    I've got mullard 12ax7s in v1 and v2 and a mullard 12at7(cv4024) in v3. I've also liked rft for more gain and darker, tungsram, amperex, or jan ge 5751 preamp tubes
     
  15. teveinsene

    teveinsene Member

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    Great info and interesting stuff, I like quite a bit of gain and am mostly a dirt player but I have been surprised by the amount of gain both these amp produce from cranking them up and then attenuating.
     
  16. BADHAK

    BADHAK Member

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    What are you trying to do with any changes you'd call improvements?

    Well when you are completely new to actual Marshalls (up to now I have been playing marshall variants) and don't have experience with there tone other than clips and vids that is kind of hard to know I suppose? I like them the way they are for the most part and wonder if they could sound better but the only thing I would change I'm not gonna change with a preamp tube anyway...the low strings on the jmp 2204 are tubby and loose under gain, moreso than I would like but it sounds so good I'm dealing with it for now. Not the case with the Rockitt.[/QUOTE]

    Is your bright cap intact on the 2204??
    I have a 1980 2203 and the bass is nice and firm, but my 79 2203 has a quiet loose bass and the cap is snipped (but won't be for long)
     
  17. teveinsene

    teveinsene Member

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    Bright cap is intact, I lifted one leg of the cap when I first got the amp but greatly prefer it with the bright cap intact. Flubs either way.

    Boss sd-1 or my koko boost tightens it but I think it sounds best without, but being picky probably currently and getting a bunch of my gain from cranking the amp and attenuating.
     
  18. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    LOL! :rotflmao


    That was typed from my "smartphone" and spell check got the better of Tungsram


    and may I suggest using an UN-balanced PI tube (V3)
     
  19. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Ha ha!!

    Can't believe I even guessed correctly, but your sonic description was another clue.

    - T
     
  20. LPVM

    LPVM Member

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    I63 Mullard in V1

    I've got a few of these but this Philips labeled 7025 is my favorite.

    [​IMG]

    For higher gain Marshalls '90s Chinese military triple mica 12AX7's in V1 are quite nice too. I've got a bunch of these in a 6505+ and they took it to another level.

    [​IMG]

    V2 Ratheon black plate

    They are a really nice strong tube that don't color the tone so they won't step on the Mullard or other premium tube you put in V1. They are considered the US Telefunken.

    [​IMG]

    V3 Sylvania long plate

    They are great in the phase inverter slot and deliver a nice hot signal to your power tubes.

    [​IMG]
     

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